3 Things To Keep In Mind In The Garden This Fall
We were lucky enough to host James Batton again in our Glover Nursery Facebook Group. He joined us to talk about all things fall. 🍁
If you’re not familiar with James, he is a locally-famed arborist who started his horticultural journey at 19 working for Oregon State University at their horticultural and agriculture research facility.
Over a career that has spanned 40 years, he has learned a great deal about the health, longevity, propagation, and care of plants. His experience as a certified arborist, estate gardener, and landscape contractor has provided him with first-hand knowledge as to where a plant will thrive as well as where it fits in a well-designed landscape.
Simultaneously, he has dedicated his time to volunteering as a teacher, instructor, guide, and advisor in settings amongst nature.
Here’s some of what he shared with us about what to keep in mind this fall in the garden:
It’s also James’ favorite time to plant because we are past the relentless summer heat!
People often think that because everything is going dormant, now isn’t the right time to plant. That’s a misconception.
It’s all about the root establishment. While the tree may be going dormant, the roots are not. The brilliance of planting in fall is that the roots will be very active because the tree doesn't have to focus on growing leaves, fruits, blooms, etc. As long as the ground isn't frozen, the root mass is growing.
This means a strong, healthy tree come spring!
To prepare for snow and freezing temperatures, be sure to wrap the trunk of deciduous trees - especially newer trees with tender bark (maples, beaches, etc.)
Wrap the trunk from the base to the first scaffolding branches to protect them from sun scalding. It will be time to unwrap them around mid-April.
Evergreen plants (conifers mostly, but anything that keeps its leaves/needles over the winter) are at risk of winter burn. When temperatures drop, winter desiccation happens where the plant will lose moisture due to both the cold as well as strong winter winds. It is extremely helpful to Apply Wilt-Pruf, an antitranspirant, to lock in moisture and prevent winter burn.
Make sure your trees & shrubs are getting enough water throughout the cold months, especially when they are young.
We live in an arid dry region that is experiencing a drought so, you must be vigilant. Find out the watering needs for the tree you're planting, as well as the depth you need to plant your tree so that its roots can get adequate water.
Many people think that snow melt is enough to water trees and shrubs, but it is not. That soft, fluffy snow melts down into very little water and does not reach those deep roots where the moisture is needed for the plant to live.
It’s important to remember that the ground does not stay frozen all the time, it thaws and refreezes throughout the season. When it thaws, those little roots are active and searching for a water source. Trees, shrubs, and even the perennials you planted in spring will still need winter watering. The snow melt alone won’t do the trick. If you’re not sure how to water in the winter, there are two easy methods.
- Dump ice around the rootball area. When temperatures are warm enough to need it, the ice will melt and soak into the soil around the roots. Take a 16 oz tumbler and put 1-4 scoops per plant (smaller plants, such as a gallon-size perennial need only one scoop, larger plants like a 25-gallon tree, use four full scoops.)
- Drill a small hole in the bottom of a 5-gallon utility bucket. Place the bucket so that the edge of it is against the trunk of the tree, and fill the bucket with water. Let it drip, slowly, onto the rootball area. Do this one time during the winter for smaller plants and 2-3 times for larger trees/shrubs.
We are just scratching the surface here when it comes to all the nuggets of gardening wisdom James provided. Watch the full video here to learn even more about fall planting.